Alaskan Issues Get Funding, Support in Appropriations Bill

Murkowski Bid to Ban “Frankenfish” Postponed,

WASHINGTON, DC – Alaska’s Coast Guard, energy projects, waterway and port improvements and Village Safe Water projects have had millions in needed funds allotted from several subcommittees’ proposed fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills -- and today were supported by Senator Murkowski and her colleagues in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The appropriations bills now head to the U.S. Senate floor for consideration.  The following Alaskan issues also came up: 

Frankenfish legislation: Midway through the over two hour long committee deliberation, Senator Murkowski pushed to have the committee ban genetically modified fish when the Food and Drug Administration’s budget was brought up.  After discussions back-and-forth with Democrats on the Committee, Senator Murkowski agreed to wait until the bill goes to the Senate floor to outlaw “Frankenfish” and the potential harm such fish could cause to wild fish populations. 

"This is an issue that is key and critical to us,” said Senator Murkowski after the Appropriations Committee adjourned.  “I am going to continue this fight against genetically modified salmon at every opportunity I get – and I'm going to educate my Senate colleagues about the potential dangers and drawbacks of Frankenfish.  It could damage our economy, our environment but most importantly our health."

Transportation Fees on Alaskans: Also close to home for Alaskans, committee members took up a possible $1.50 hike per travel leg in the aviation security fee tacked onto commercial airline tickets to cover Transportation Security Administration needs.  Senator Murkowski supported her colleague Senator Dan Coats’ (R-IN) amendment to remove that hike from the overall Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill – which failed by a single vote.

“I respect and appreciate the work done by the Department of Homeland Security – and don’t for one moment doubt the importance of their work,” said Senator Murkowski.  “Alaskans rely on air travel disproportionate to most states, and I am not sure that we need to tack on an extra 3 to 6 dollars for work that the TSA acknowledges themselves needs to be revamped.”

The FY2012 appropriations bills that passed the Appropriations Committee includes the following items for Alaska:

Energy and Water Development:

  • Denali Commission                                                     $9.077 million
  • Matanuska River Watershed                                         $100,000
  • Yakutat Harbor                                                           $100,000
  • Port of Anchorage                                                       $14 million
  • Chena River Lakes                                                      $2.948 million
  • Dillingham Harbor                                                       $987,000
  • Alaska Pipeline Coordinator Office                                $1 million
  • Homer Harbor                                                             $453,000
  • Inspection of completed works in Alaska                        $194,000
  • Ninilchik Harbor                                                         $420,000
  • Nome Harbor                                                              $1.066 million
  • Project Conditions Surveys Alaska                                $500,000
  • Methane Hydrate Program                                          $15 million
  • Hydroelectric energy funding                                       $34 million


Department of Homeland Security

  • Coast Guard Aircraft Replacement                            $18.3 million in general funding

                                                              $18.3 million in emergency funding

  • Coast Guard Ice Breaker Program                              $39 million



  • Village Safe Water                                                   $23 million
  • Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband         $46 million
  • High Energy Cost Grants                                           $10 million